Prince Estabrook

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Prince Estabrook was an enslaved black man and Minutemen Private[1] who fought and was wounded at the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the first battle of the American Revolutionary War.[2] An undated broadside from the time identified him as "a Negro Man", spelled his name Easterbrooks, and listed him among the wounded from Lexington, Massachusetts.[3] Born around 1741, he was a slave belonging to the family of Benjamin Estabrook from whom he most likely took his name. He was freed.[4]

Military service[edit]

The state Archives of Massachusetts say that he was from the Lexington Militia commanded by Captain John Parker, the first to engage the British at Lexington, and was paid for his participation in a Cambridge detachment from July 17–18, 1775.[5] The Essex Register of 25 April 1775 lists "Prince Easterbrooks - a Negro-Man ... of Lexington" as having been wounded by the British troops at some time during the Battles of Lexington and Concord.[6] He enlisted in the Lexington Militia in 1773 and served in the army off and on until 1783.[4]


His master, Benjamin Estabrook, granted him emancipation following his service to the Continental Army.[4]


He was buried in the graveyard First Parish Church in Ashby, Massachusetts, following his death in 1830.


Prince Estabrook memorial in Lexington, Massachusetts.

He was honored in 2008 by the town of Lexington with a monument erected in front of Buckman Tavern as being the first black combatant of the American Revolution and for representing the thousands of slaves who fought for their country even though their own freedom was not afforded to their people until almost a hundred years later.[7] The inscription on the marker reads:

In Honor of Prince Estabrook -- Prince Estabrook was a slave who lived in Lexington. At dawn on April 19, 1775, he was one of the Lexington Minute Men awaiting the arrival of the British Regulars at the Buckman Tavern. In the battle which followed, Prince Estabrook was wounded on Lexington Green. Through circumstances and destiny, he thus became the first black soldier to fight in the American Revolution. -- This monument is dedicated to the memory of Prince Estabrook and the thousands of other courageous black patriots long denied the recognition they deserve. -- Donated by the Alice Hinkle Memorial Fund -- April 21, 2008[8]


  1. ^ Kondratiuk (2010)
  2. ^ Brooks (1999), pp. 55–56
  3. ^ PBS
  4. ^ a b c Hinkle (2001)
  5. ^ National Heritage Museum
  6. ^ "SALEM, April 25". Essex Gazette. Essex, Massachusetts. 25 April 1775. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  7. ^ Murphy (2008)
  8. ^ Historical Marker Database